A New Market Gets a New Measure: Independent Workers Earned $1.2 Trillion in 2013

A New Market Gets A Big Financial BoostThe independent workforce is up nearly 10% from 2011 — that’s some 18 million professionals generating over one trillion dollars, according to a new report. These independents, contractors, consultants, and freelancers are not only making a living for themselves, they’re providing work to others. To the tune of $96 billion.

How is that possible?

Here’s the math: more than a quarter of independent workers hire other freelancers, and this year’s MBO Partners State of Independence Report says that these approximately 18 million indies are putting the equivalent of 2.3 million fellow freelancers on the books. To a large extent they’re doing this virtually. The 2013 report reveals that the new virtual team-up is big business, with independents assembling into collaboration teams to meet customer demands.

“This year’s report shows the tremendous economic impact of independent workers,” says Gene Zaino, chief executive officer of MBO Partners. “And [it] validates that independence is more than a viable career path; it’s a job creation engine.”

And there’s no sign of slowing down. By 2023, it is projected that more than half of all private-sector workers will have logged hours as independent pros.

But who are these workers and where are they taking us, exactly? Let’s see what else the study’s numbers have to say.

  • Mainstream Presence: Independence is driving what looks an awful lot like a structural shift. MBO Partners’ 2013 workforce index, a measure created to track the private sector, shows an 8.2% growth since the base year in 2011. And the study’s authors expect growth to hit 24 million by 2018. As it stands, nearly 10 million households can credit at least half of their income to the work of independents.
  • Economic Engine: Independent workers have generated close to $1.2 trillion in total income in 2013. They also spend. When it comes to non-payroll/contractor outlay, on average, they’re putting down about $8,500 per year per solo worker — that’s $150 billion, annually.
  • The Confidence Factor: Sixty-four percent of the indies polled reported a high level of satisfaction with their work style — that’s down a bit from 2012, but still greater than in 2011. The study shows that 77% plan to continue as either sole proprietors (63%) or expand to a larger business model (14%).
  • Multi-generational: Of the 17.7 million independents, 1 in 5 are Millennials (21-33 years old), 36% are Gen X (34-49 years), 33% are Boomers (50-67 years), and 11% are matures (68+).

And here’s one more interesting detail from the report. Independence has a new name, or a bunch of them.

That is, according to MBO Partners, just 3% of independent workers chose freelancer as their primary title. Instead, the survey got responses that ran the gamut, from self-employed to business owner, contractor, consultant and entrepreneur. Seems the independent professional is building a whole new kind of persona. And they’re taking a seat in their own kind of corner office.

 

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Mobile Freelancer, Mobile Entrepreneur: 5 Budget-Friendly Approaches to Your Business Workflow

Freelancers and Mobile ToolsEntrepreneurs and freelancers manage their businesses online just as much as every other kind of owner and corporate project manager, but they often find themselves working with a limited budget.

“We can’t always hire someone to keep certain information organized and structured,” says Sean Mahoney, president and CEO of AndPlus. “Custom software and the use of mobile applications on the devices we carry each minute of every day offer the single and best opportunity for us to place the time spent usually organizing into running our businesses.”

From payroll and ops to low-cost personal-assistant apps, from idea-banks to team-collaboration tools, let’s look at some of the options that can work for the independent entrepreneur and freelancer on the go.

1. Focus on Cash Flow: Apps like Freshbooks ($19.95/month) and Outright (free; $9.95/month premium version) allow you to see your cash flow day by day as it relates to payroll and operations.

2. Task Flow is as Important as Cash Flow: Use task reminders as if they were a personal assistant. A shortlist to check out includes Wunderlist (free; $4.99/month premium version) , Wrike (free; $49–$199/month premium version), and Any.do (free).

3. Consolidate Your Creative Materials: Combine all of your notes, pictures, and recorded audio in one place, using an app such as Evernote (free; $5/month or $45/year premium version). No matter where you are during a day, all of your creative materials are searchable. This can be a life saver at a meeting, during an impromptu pitch, or in any situation that depends on your ideas being instantly at hand.

4. Keep Your Comm Lines Open: Communicate with your team on a platform that allows mobile and desktop interaction. A good place to start: Yammer (free; up to $8 per user premium version).

5. Customize When Ready: At some point, as either your budget grows or your workflow exceeds the free and low-price apps we’ve just considered, you’ll probably want to push your entrepreneurial/freelance toolkit into the customized space. Many of what are the most common actions online professionals needs to deal with every day can be integrated into personalized mobile applications quickly and easily.

“We now are allowed to move forward with our lives and running our businesses in the way we feel is most productive, not the way we feel we’re forced to,” says Mahoney.

The bottom line is, even without a massive line to draw upon, small-business and solo entrepreneurs can create dynamic management tools that put them on the same playing field as their bigger-budget counterparts.

 

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Mozy’s Growing Presence in South America

ColumbiaDid you realize Mozy is growing strong south of the border?

One proof of this is our recent distributor partnership with Sciotec in Colombia. Founded in 2005, Sciotec is a rising star in the region for IT security and backup and storage, having received top reseller awards from the likes of Symantec and Hitachi Data Systems. By focusing more and more on offering cloud backup in the burgeoning South American region, Sciotec has grown steadily the past few years.

With help from Mozy and other select data protection vendors, Siotec has in 2013 broken its company sales records. They will now be offering their expertise to help resellers create their own online backup business powered by Mozy. By offering new ways for partners to provide Mozy’s leading service to its reseller partners, and by offering local currency and language support, Sciotec was a perfect match to be Mozy’s distribution partner of choice in Colombia.

Learn more about Sciotec.

Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – October 14

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features pleas from the police to upgrade your iPhone, Post-Its going digital, and new tool for people battling hand tremors. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Should You Upgrade to iOS 7? The NYPD Thinks So

Last week’s launch of Apple’s iOS 7 had an interesting advocate: the New York Police Department. Officers were seen outside Apple Stores and subway stops handing out flyers urging iPhone owners to upgrade their operating systems. According to Kevin Bostic at Apple Insider, new security features of iOS 7 include Apple’s Activation Lock, which makes it more difficult to erase a phone and reactivate it. The NYPD hopes this technology will reduce the number of thefts of Apple products, which accounted for 14% of all major crimes in 2012.

Post-Its Go Digital

Post-it Notes Go Digital

Those Post-It notes surrounding your desktop monitor may soon be available wherever you go. Emily Price from Mashable reports that 3M and Evernote have teamed up to offer co-branded products with a 30-day trial for Evernote Premium subscription. Evernote’s iOS 7 app has a “Post-It Note Camera” feature which allows users to snap a picture of their notes and have the digital renditions available via their Evernote account.

Hi-Tech Spoon Helps Parkinson’s Sufferers

Lift Labs Spoon

Hand tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease can make even the act of eating a bowl of cereal a frustrating experience. According to the Atlantic’s Rebecca J. Rosen, Lift Labs has developed a spoon which can reduce the amount of shaking by up to 70%. The spoon works by sensing a tremor and intelligently counterbalancing for it. By reducing the effects of hand tremors, the company hopes users can shift their focus from the act of eating to their meal and the people they’re sharing it with. The company indicates that knife and fork attachments are forthcoming.

 

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Frightful Computer Haiku Contest v 3.0

Our annual “Frightful Computer Haiku Contest” is back. If you have submitted before and haven’t won, now’s your chance! The third time’s the charm, right? Comment on this post with your haiku to enter to win $200!

Mozy Frightful Haiku Contest 2013

Haven’t written a haiku since 3rd grade? Don’t worry, it’s easy to do. Haikus are composed of three lines. Line one is five syllables, line two is seven syllables, and line three is five syllables. Haikus that don’t meet this criteria will be disqualified, so make sure your haiku has the right arrangement of syllables.

Here is an example:

I now understand
why hard drives and coffee mugs
don’t mix very well

Our four favorites will win, and here are the prizes you could earn:

  • Grand prize: $200 Amazon.com gift card
  • Three runners up will receive $50 Amazon.com gift cards.
  • We’ll also select a few honorable mentions, who will win a Mozy Saved My Bacon frisbee.
  • The winning haikus will also be featured on our Facebook page and Twitter account.

To enter: Simply comment on this post with your frightful computer haiku.

Rules:

  • Your haiku must be original. Don’t just copy one of the ones someone submitted last time (or this time), because that’s just lame. And we will be checking.
  • Your haiku must be awesome, but this goes without saying.
  • One entry per person. Please do not submit the same haiku over and over again.
  • Submit your haiku by Oct. 31, 11:59 PM MDT. Winners will be announced on Friday, Nov. 1.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? So get your haiku on and submit away! Like this contest? Click here to tweet it!

Mozy and the Award For Aspirations in Computing

Did you know?

In 2010, women received only 18% of the Computer Science degrees awarded in the U.S. despite the fact that women earned almost 60% of the undergraduate degrees awarded in the same year! And this number has been steadily declining since a high point in the 1980s when women received 37% of the Computer Science degrees earned.

We here at Mozy love diversity and believe that we need more women in technology and especially in computer science. That’s why we’re proud to support organizations like the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing.  This award honors young women active and interested in computing and encourages them to pursue their passion for technology. We want these young ladies to know that we are excited about their interest and aptitude in computing!

Mozy is an enthusiastic signature sponsor for our local Aspirations in Computing award luncheon and we encourage technically inclined young women all over the U.S. to apply for this award and get involved in organizations like this that encourage and nurture technical talent.

We can’t wait to celebrate the achievements of these young women and their Aspirations in Computing!

Sources:

 

My name is Alesha and I work for Mozy

Continuing with our series on introducing you to some of our talented team members who directly contribute to the success of Mozy.  This month, we’d like to showcase one of our supporting pillars  – Alesha Healey.  Alesha ensures that all the gears that make Mozy work are oiled and everyone gets what they need, as one of the Administrative Assistants, Alesha is one of the most approachable and accommodating people at Mozy.  She is always willing to help and her sense of humor makes her an incredible asset.

My name is Alesha and I work for Mozy

I define my workspace as …
A cluster truck of crap! (can I say that on this blog?!!) I would like to have less in my workspace but every time I get rid of something, two other items pop up to take its place. I’ve stopped trying.

A device I can’t live without …jack
I love my iPad and would marry it if I could!

When I arrive at work, I typically start off by …
To help me with my job, I have access to about 27 different programs and once I’ve logged into them and filled up my water bottle, I get to work.

My work routine is …
I have a running task list that I work from (thank you iPad!) It never ends, which is a good thing. I would rather be busy than not.

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …
It depends on what I am working on… Expense reports? Yes! They can be mind-numbing and the music helps me keep my sanity. Email or scheduling? No! Frankly, I am just not that talented.

The best advice I can give a recent college graduate looking to do what I do is …
Make sure that you like what you do and have a little fun every day.

Outside of work, I am passionate about …
Cooking and baking, I enjoy finding and creating new recipes. There is nothing more satisfying than preparing something with my own two hands knowing that it might just bring a little joy to the peeps I love.
Author’s note: I knew there was a reason I liked Alesha – she and I share the same passion for cooking and baking…great minds!

My eating habits are …
Sporadic at best, I either eat way too much or nothing at all. Very healthy, I know. ☺ I do love ice cream!!!

If I could be someone for a day – I would be …
Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. She barely has to work but somehow always has the money to get drunk with her friends and buy fabulous shoes!
Author’s note: another reason why I like Alesha…what’s not to love about Carrie Bradshaw??!!

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …
I am crazy clumsy. I fall down and/or get hurt way more than any adult should. I choose to just laugh, be happy and live in the moment. Even if that moment is painful… ☺
Author’s note: Alesha’s modesty is evident in her response, as she never addresses that fact that without her Mozy would be between a rock and a hard place since she keeps everyone on track.

Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – October 8

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features advice for iOS 7 camera users, an app that can start your microwave and how to watch YouTube videos with no Internet. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

New App Allows Users to Control Household Items from Smartphones

Revolv

You’re out to dinner when you realize you forgot to turn off the television. You locked your keys in the house and can’t get in. The new app from Revolv for iOS allows users to sync up their home appliances and control them with their mobile devices, according to Adam Popescu for Mashable. The company is currently pre-selling its Smart Home Solution, which allows users to control entertainment systems, wireless lighting, automated locks, and thermostat from an iPhone or iPad. For $299, the system includes a WiFi hub that can be plugged in to an outlet in the home and access to Revolv’s cloud service. The hub automatically connects to the user’s WiFi and manually connects to wireless electronics in the home.

5 Tips for Making the Most of iOS 7′s New Camera App

The tech world has been filled with buzz about Apple’s new iOS 7 software. With so many changes and features, it’s difficult for even the biggest of tech nerds to keep up with everything that’s going on. However, one of the biggest (and in some people’s opinions, best) upgrades is to the Camera app. Jason Cipriani of CNET details 5 important tips for getting adjusted to the new Camera.

No Internet? No Problem. Watch YouTube Videos Offline

New YouTube App

Users will soon be able to watch YouTube videos even when they aren’t connected to the Internet, according to a Mashable article. YouTube recently announced that it will unveil a new feature that will let users “add videos” to their mobile device to watch offline. The app is set for a November release date.

 

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How Do You Shift to People-Centric Computing? Two Words: Centralize and Hybrid, Says ESG

“It’s all about the people,” argued Peter Drucker, the most influential management thinker of the past century (see WSJ article).

It’s a philosophy that we hold dear in our hearts at Mozy – and one the analysts at ESG appear to champion, as well. The latest report from the storage experts highlights the shift in emphasis needed to deliver comprehensive data protection for the modern workforce. And it really boils down to the people.

As the world of backup evolves, it’s becoming less about forcing people to use specific devices that you force them to back up to a specific destination – and more about protecting the data belonging to those people and intelligently selecting a backup destination that suits it best.

“A hybrid architecture means that an organization does not need to make ‘either-or’ data protection decisions, but can instead use centralized and distributed backup approaches wherever each makes sense,” said Jason Buffington, Senior Data Protection Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group.

“For example, centralized data protection could provide the foundation for compliance, while distributed backup could add agility in dealing with remote data,” said Buffington. “The key to success is choosing the right data protection tools for each recovery goal — and, rather than the IT department trying to own every single piece of the infrastructure, making sure that they own the management for all of the organizations’ data backup, regardless of method.”

It’s well known that EMC has a comprehensive portfolio of backup services that offers on-premise, private cloud, public cloud and hybrid solutions. The new ESG-Mozy white paper helps big companies better understand those different tools. It offers advice on building a hybrid, people-centric approach that meets all their needs.

And this kind of approach will meet their needs so long as the business makes sure that the ownership and control of backup management holds fast across the entire enterprise. Corporate office employees, remote office employees and workers on the go all have different data backup and access requirements and need to be treated uniquely.

Putting people at the heart of the backup strategy is core for Mozy. We talked about this in July when we made big changes to the foundation on which the Mozy service is built. And we’ll continue to talk about it as we bring more features to market based on our new infrastructure.

The ESG White Paper’s hotlist of “must haves” for a successful hybrid backup architecture includes the following characteristics:

- Data protection and access and the ability to recover that data are all provided
- It’s manageable by the IT organization
- Remote and branch-office employees are equally supported
- Security is as strong for the cloud piece as for the on-premise piece
- Productivity is enhanced through the hybrid approach.

You can find out more about implementing a hybrid backup solution by reading the new ESG White Paper, and the recently released ESG Lab Validation Report: MozyEnterprise: Secure, Efficient Cloud-based Backup.

3 Critical Pieces of Advice for Business Owners from Mixergy.com’s Founder, Andrew Warner

Mixergy - Advice for EntreprenuersFor Mixergy.com, Andrew Warner has conducted more than 900 interviews with business experts, founders, and executives. He has also worked with successful professionals to craft over 100 different courses that teach members proven methods for growing a business.

A talented interviewer, Warner extracts experiences and wisdom from interviewees who explain step-by-step how they grew their business and overcame obstacles, and what viewers can learn from those experiences.

Mozy once helped Warner recover his files when his Macbook Pro decided to retire itself, now Warner is returning the favor by sharing the three ways entrepreneurs and small business owners can build better businesses:

1. Become an interviewer

Warner’s interview with Heidi Roizen is the first thing he mentions. Roizen is a world-class example of a someone who knows how to network. And she attributes much of her success to her ability to build relationships.

At her first job, Roizen took it upon herself to edit the company newsletter.

Why?

Because it gave her access to the CEO, allowing her to build that relationship and consequently meet other important and influential people.

Warner says, “If you’re an interviewer, you can get in more doors than if you send a note saying, ‘I’d like to do a business deal with you.’ People sit down for interviews, and then naturally — it happens to me all the time — they will want to do business with you.”

As an interviewer, Warner built a relationship with Roizen. He has also established strong connections — even friendships — with the 900 other entrepreneurs, including me, who have sat down with him for an hour long conversation to share our experiences, expertise and mistakes with viewers.

You don’t have to edit a company newsletter like Roizen did, or conduct in-depth video interviews as Warner does. You can interview incredible people even as the author of a personal blog.

You will be surprised how many people will open up to you, and how those new connections will help you succeed.

2. Diffuse the “counter mind” and empower the “true mind”

Warner, like everyone, battles self-doubt.

“Anything that we do, that’s worthwhile. There’s a part of us that makes us doubt ourselves. So I might come here to do an interview with you, and in my head I’m thinking, What if I don’t have anything as interesting to say as Gary Vaynerchuk? What if I’m having an off day? What if I say something really stupid?

With so much emotional stress and hesitancy, how could anyone accomplish anything meaningful?

“The same thing happens when you read a book about sales. They’ll teach you exactly what to say. They’ll give you the scripts. They’ll show you the process, and then, you’re supposed to pick up the phone and you won’t even do it.”

Warner calls this paralyzing mentality the counter mind. Conversely, there is the true mind, which requires we give it more head space so we can be ourselves.

“If you can diffuse [the counter mind] and bring out the true mind, then you can walk into a conversation and people can pick up on the fact that you’re comfortable. You can learn how to do something and actually go and do it because you’re excited about the rewards of it.”

3. Systematize workloads

Small businesses often struggle to grow. Sometimes, that is because a business is limited by what its owners are capable of.

“We founders tend to do everything. It’s our companies and we’re really good at doing everything and so we end up doing it all. And then we get overwhelmed, and we hire someone and we say, ‘You, do this. Solve this problem for me.’ And they can’t do it right, and so we take it back on our shoulders.”

In the early stages of Mixergy, Warner believed he couldn’t possibly delegate the tasks of pre-interviewing entrepreneurs, editing the videos and managing the business’ finances. So he assumed those responsibilities, overwhelming himself, only to realize that it was he who limited the firm’s potential.

Warner decided to finally hire a professional video editor, but the relationship didn’t work out. Warner confirmed his suspicion that he was the only one capable of running and supporting his company, and so he video edited once again.

Yet, it wasn’t that Warner was the only qualified person to do the job.

“The mistake I made was: I didn’t explain to whomever I was hiring how to do the job right. I didn’t systematize my job so that anyone else can do it.”

Warner, remembering his interview with Derek Sivers, concluded owners should: “[observe] how you do something, tell everyone else how you do it, and then let them do it that way.” He created Mixergy’s “manual,” a step-by-step guide for how to do the different jobs.

And he has been successful in growing the company.

“I gave [the manual] to our [video] editor, and now the editor is better than I am because in addition to doing what I do, he’s improved the job. But at least he started by editing the way I do it.”

Warner no longer has to be Mixergy’s sole work hero. The company has grown to nine people. With eight other capable team members, maintaining and updating the “manual” is more important than ever.

“Here, if someone can’t make it, if someone wants to take a vacation, the manual is there. The next person can pick up their job and do it.”

 

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